Mumbai: The ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) on Monday informed the Bombay High Court that it would pass its final order in the Lavasa case within three weeks.
“The ministry has accepted the recommendations along with the pre-conditions given by the Experts Appraisal Committee formed to look into the matter. A final order would be passed by three weeks,” additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, appearing for the union ministry told the court.
Lavasa Corporation, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), had challenged in HC, the 25 November notice issued by MoEF directing stay on construction for not obtaining mandatory environment clearances before starting the project in 2004.
Senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Lavasa argued that as per a circular issued by the MoEF in another matter, if the ministry does not pass its final order within 45 days of the Experts Appraisal Committee giving its clearance then the committee’s report is deemed to be final decision.
“It has been 45 days since the Experts Appraisal Committee submitted its report giving Lavasa clearance and the ministry has not yet passed its final order,” Naphade said.
Khambata, however, opposed this saying the Committee has not given unconditional clearance to Lavasa. “The Committee has only given its recommendations along with 34 conditions out of which five are pre-conditions which Lavasa has to comply with first,” he said.
The division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R G Ketkar has directed MoEF to file its affidavit in reply to Lavasa’s argument by 23 September.
The pre-conditions set by the Committee include Maharashtra government to initiate credible action against Lavasa for violations under Environment (Protection) Act, submission by Lavasa in form of a formal resolution that violations would not be repeated and intensity of development shall be as per Hill Station Regulations and there would be a clear demarcation of no development zone.